Tag Archives: fairy tale retelling

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Book review: The Bone Way, by Holly J. Underhill

I purchased a copy of The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill.

Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own.

Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling fantasy novella, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.

my review

This should have been…needs to be…a full-length novel instead of a novella. I liked the idea of it. I liked the world. I liked that it’s a retelling. The writing is mechanically sound. But it 100% feels like part of a story, as opposed to a story of its own. It leans heavily on flashbacks to give a lot of what happens context. But the flashbacks just break up the flow of the already too-short work. You barely get to know or care about Teagan and not at all about Cressidae. The villain is villainous until she encounters the smallest push-back. All in all, I suppose I wanted to like this a lot more than I did.

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Other Reviews:

Book Review: The Bone Way

Review: The Bone Way – Holly J. Underhill




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Book Review: The Beast, by Jenika Snow

I purchased a signed copy of The Beast, by Jenika Snow.

the beast cover

What if the Beast never turned into the prince?

My father had just sold me off.

Bartered my body to erase his debt to the very devil himself.

A Beast of a man. Literally.

A creature whispered about amongst the villagers and feared by all.

He was a beastly visage at three times the size of a man, his monstrously huge body covered in fur. Sharp fangs and eyes that held an unearthly red glow. He had pawlike hands tipped with claws and horns that arched back from his inhuman face.

I was to live with him, to be his in every way—all ways—he saw fit.

I was to be his wife, and so I offered myself up as the proverbial sacrifice to the very devil himself.

I just didn’t expect to enjoy being with a monster as much as I did.

my review

Meh, I didn’t love it. I picked this up because I’d seen it raved about over on Tiktok and thought the idea of Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, remaining beastly was intriguing. But there’s just not much to it. Which might be fine (erotica doesn’t need much of a plot), except what is there doesn’t even try to be original in any way. It just feels like poorly done Disney fan fiction.

So, if the minimal plot didn’t interest me, that left the sex. What a reader likes in a sex scene is super individual. But, for me, this was far too focused on how he was going to hurt her and she’d beg for more. (Plus, all the spitting…and leaking…wasn’t my jam). Which means the sex wasn’t a big winner for me either.

Thus, to say it again, I didn’t love it. But to each their own.

the beast photo

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Book Review: Second Star to the Left, by Megan Van Dyke

Megan Van Dyke‘s Second Star to the Left was featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight, and though I didn’t review the book for the book tour, I did end up with a copy of the book and decided to give it a read.

second star to the left
Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust—wants absolution.

Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.

Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.

However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.

As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find—each other.

my review
I am not, I admit, overly fond of fairy-tale retellings, and I’m especially suspicious of those that seek to redeem villains and present them as something other than what we know them as. But Van Dyke succeeds in some interesting and unexpected ways. How she got around Tink and Hook’s traditional animosity toward one another, to craft a romance between them, was notably clever. So was the recasting of the crocodile.

Having said that, I did think the broader plot was fairly predictable. I saw the “ah-ha’ twist coming miles before it was revealed. But predictable or not, I did have fun with this. I love that there really wasn’t a lot of angst in the romance aspect of it. Hook was pretty open about wanting Tink, even if he fought it in the beginning. Tink might have been a bit slower on the uptake, but also didn’t bother with drama. It was refreshing…and sweet. Yeah, there’s some steam in there too. But the romantic aspect wat truly sweet.

second star to left photoThe writing itself is clean and easy to read. There’s a bit of repetition in the beginning. But it smooths out. And every now and again a phrase would clang as too real-world, slangy for the fantasy setting—like “no shit,” or “it sucked” or “that’s a whole lot of nope.” But there were few enough not to really matter and I found more lines that made me laugh than raise an eyebrow.

All in all, I enjoyed this a lot. I even managed to pick up a 10 or so page-long epilogue somewhere along the way (probably from the author’s newsletter) and read it too. I look forward to more of Van Dyke’s future books.

Other Reviews:

ARC Review: SECOND STAR TO THE LEFT by Megan Van Dyke

Westveil Publishing – Second Star to the Left by Megan Van Dyke – 3.5 Star Review

Book Tour & Review: Second Star to the Left (Reimagined Fairy Tales #1) by Megan Van Dyke